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Mitigating Risk with Gap Analysis, Risk Assessment, and Feasibility Analysis

When you’re creating a change strategy for a proposed solution, there are many factors to take into account. A solution needs to satisfy a need or solve a problem in an organization, but it also needs to fit with the culture, work with technology that is currently available, and be a solution that will be supported by the organization to nurture it and allow it to grow in the future. 

That said, business analysis projects can be complex and risky, so it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your solution’s scope, goals, and potential risks. One of the best ways to mitigate those risks is to conduct a strategy analysis and complete a Gap Analysis, risk assessment, and feasibility check.

Perform a Gap Analysis

A Gap Analysis is a critical step in mitigating risks in business analysis projects. By identifying the current state and the future state of the organization, you’ll be able to determine the gaps between them. The future state comprises changes to the organization, the solution scope, and the business goals and objectives. The current state, on the other hand, identifies where the organization stands currently. 

It’s important to document both the current and future states in a similar format to make it easier to compare the gaps between the two. Once you’ve identified gaps through the Gap Analysis, it’s essential that you prioritize them. This way, you can tackle the most significant gaps (the biggest and potentially most impactful) first and ensure that the project is solving the most critical issues.

Identify and Assess Risks

Identifying and assessing risks is another critical step in mitigating liabilities in business analysis solution creation. Risks are undesirable consequences of internal and external forces on the enterprise during the transition to, or once in, the future state. The Project Manager and the Business Analyst should both be aware of and assess the risks to understand the probability of their occurrence, the impact, and mitigation measures that can be put in place to minimize the impact. 

Prioritizing risks based on their probability and impact is crucial to mitigate those most critical first. Risk tolerance also plays an important role in determining the level of risk the organization is willing to accept. Some companies are more willing to take on risks to enact more impactful solutions. Others are more risk-averse and prefer to play it safe. As an example, think of a solution that is playing a part in the launching of a Space-X rocket, where scientific excellence is necessary, as compared to a mobile application solution, where some bugs are okay. 

Feasibility Analysis

Conducting a Feasibility Analysis is essential to determine whether the proposed solution is feasible or not. Think of a Feasibility Analysis as a sanity check that ensures the proposed solution is realistic and can be implemented within the organization’s constraints. When conducting a Feasibility Analysis, take into account the following:

  • Project or company constraints – What are the constraints of the solution and the organization? Does the company have a limited amount of resources to dedicate to working toward this solution?
  • Assumptions – Look at the project assumptions you created and determine if the solution would still work. 
  • Product risks – If you’re trying to make a change to an existing product, are there inherent risks that come with it?
  • Dependencies – Is the solution creating any type of dependency or is it dependent on anything else being completed first?
  • Culture – Is the solution going to fit within the culture of the organization? If the solution requires an agile and nimble culture, but the existing culture is extremely straight-laced and requires lots of oversight and approvals, will the solution fit?
  • Technology – Is the technology that we need for the solution available? Has this type of solution been implemented with this technology before?
  • Support – Will the organization be able to support the solution and nurture its growth to achieve the near-future business needs?
  • Schedule – Can the solution be implemented within the timeframe that you’ve recommended or by the time the solution is needed? 
  • Organizational readiness – Is the organization ready for this change? Is there confidence the solution can be implemented successfully?

Mitigating risks in business analysis projects and product solutions is crucial to ensure successful implementation and achieve the desired outcomes. Conducting a Gap Analysis, Risk Assessment, and Feasibility Analysis are essential to mitigating risks in business analysis projects. 

Want a little more guidance and insight in each of these exercises? Check out my Conduct A Strategy Analysis course. In this course, we explore these exercises in greater detail and walk through how to complete them. 

Happy learning!

– Written by Jeremy Aschenbrenner, The BA Guide

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